Somewhere in a 5k, there is that feeling of hurt nausea, “why the hell am I doing this shouldn’t I take up competitive rock skipping? feeling that washes over you. Go out too fast and this sentiment comes at a mile, mile and a quarter. Go out more conservatively and it sneaks up on you at two miles. That difference of three to five minutes can seem like a lifetime in the middle.
Ideally, the hips should be as far forward as possible (within reason) because the hips are more or less where the centre of mass is. As we described the other day, if you land well in front of your centre of mass, you decelerate. That's one reason why when you run downhill, you feel like you are jarring much more. If you want to speed up on a downhill, you know what to do - simply lean forward. Not at the shoulders, but by getting your whole body tilted forward just a little. That means getting your hips in front. In otherwords, all runners know that when running down hill, they can control speed by moving their hips. Slowing down involves "sitting back", or dropping the hips slightly.
Applying the same principle to running every where else, if you can just learn the habit of keeping your hips "high" then you will always be in this position. In otherwords, don't "sit" and run at the same time - get your centre of mass up and forward, if you can. This is not easy, it requires quite strong core muscles, and so that's why runners often benefit from some Pilates or gym training in this area. But the take home message is the same - get the hips up and lean forward if you want speed.
One of the biggest mistakes made by runners is to lean forwards at the shoulders. The problem if you do this is that you hips actually go backwards! This means that by putting the shoulders forwards, you even less likely to be in a position to harness gravity to go forward. This is most noticeable on uphills, where the temptation is to lean forward, hunched over. Not only does this hinder breathing, but it actually destroys your efficiency. Rather concentrate on leaning from the ankles, so that your hips are forward. It sometimes even helps to pull your shoulders back, as though you are standing in the upright, soldier 'at attention' position.
There is a drill that I do with my runners at Selah High School called silent running. I have them run on the track as quiet as possible. With the feet landing properly very little noise should be heard.
Good running cues: "fast feet", "shoulders low", "run with your arms"
Relax. "While running, go over your body from head to toe and ask yourself, 'Am I relaxed in the eyes? Am I relaxed in the jaw? Am I relaxed in the neck and shoulders? Am I relaxed in the arms and hands? Am I relaxed in the hips, in the knees, in the ankles, in the feet?' You may find some tight areas that may lead to better economy if fixed."
Jog in place. You'll be landing on the ball of your foot. That's what it feels like to be a midfoot striker. How stay up there and jog in place and lean over and slowly accelerate over the next 50 yards or so and don't go so fast that you forget to stay up there and land on the ball of your foot.
Thus, I have decided to use a run/walk approach based on the following information about my running and walking capabilities. Generally, I seem to run very comfortably at a 10 min pace and walk at a 20 minute pace. If I assume 20 aid stations with an average of 3 minutes each, my stops will total one hour. I hope to finish under 24 hours. This leaves 23 hours of running and walking. For the mathematicians on the list this gives two formulae (x+y=100 and 10x + 20y = 23*60). Solving y=38 (i.e. 38 miles walking and 62 miles running). This gives 38*20=760 minutes (12.6 hours) walking and 62*10=620 minutes (10.3 hours) running.
The first time I did this calculation, I was very surprised with the amount of walking I could do and still finish under 24 hours.
"I haven't written a book on how to train because my book would be less than one page long. It would say alternate hard and easy days, have one long run a week and do at least one session of speedwork a week." Frank Shorter
You should always feel relaxed and smooth when you run. Even when you are running fast, it should feel like water flowing downhill.
... The key to striders is to accelerate smoothly up to full speed, and then hold your maximal speed without straining. Because your arms and legs move in sync, you may find that you can increase your leg cadence by increasing the tempo of your arms. Focus on moving your legs and arms slightly faster, but not straining. To increase your cadence, it often helps to shorten your stride slightly and concentrate on bringing your foot down quickly with each step. After a few sessions, you will find that you can achieve faster leg turnover without shortening your stride.
Striders not only increase your stride rate, they also lead to improved running technique. Many distance runners have sloppy running form such as tension in the arms and shoulders, overstriding or not getting power out of their gluteal (butt) muscles. Striders are an excellent way to improve running technique because running fast accentuates style flaws. Striders train you to run fast but relaxed, while focusing on good running form. To improve your running technique, focus on one or two aspects of good running form during each strider. For example, concentrate in turn on relaxing your neck, shoulders, and arms, pushing off the balls of your feet, not leaning forward or back, and so on.
... To boost your stride rate, focus on your cadence during one easy run per week. Stay relaxed and try to glide over the ground. Also, pump your arms a little faster and your legs will follow.
50 pushups run 10 miles (8 miles tempo) tempo time - 7:37/mile pace
"Mentally, I think the biggest thing I've gotten out of this 10K is that I've learned to kind of just shut my mind off during the race and not think about laps or pace." Chris Solinsky, 10,000m American record holder